Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Retrial leads to acquittal in 2008 Springfield slaying

Supporters of Charles Wilhite cheered when the verdict was announced Thursday in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield.

Wilhite was granted a new trial last year after a key prosecution witness recanted his identification of Wilhite as the shooter of Alberto Rodriguez outside a market. The new jury deliberated about four hours before finding Wilhite not guilty.

In 2010, Wilhite and co-defendant Angel Hernandez, who owned the market, were convicted of first-degree murder. Wilhite insisted he was innocent. Nathan Perez later testified he was pressured into identifying Wilhite as the shooter by a Springfield police detective and an assistant district attorney. Both denied that.

Prosecutors alleged Hernandez had a feud with Rodriguez and paid Wilhite to shoot him.

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